Posted in Books, Political, Uncategorized

To Find the Hand of Franklin Reaching for the Beaufort Sea

When I heard the news they had found one of the ships from The Franklin Expedition, the historian/Indiana Jones/child in me was so excited I could feel my heart pounding. Was it the HMS Erebus or could it possibly be the HMS Terror? Stan Rogers’ memorable song, Northwest Passage playing in my head, I was thrilled this part of Canadian/British history had finally been found.

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When Sir John Franklin, Royal Navy Officer and explorer left England in May 1845 for his 4th Arctic expedition, he and his men had no idea they were sailing into the history books, not for their discoveries but for their mysterious disappearance. The loss of the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror and their crews inspired searches1frank16, songs, plays, books, rewards, statues, theories, and still do, to this day. It has all the hallmarks of a great story: exploration, hardship, mystery, bravery, lead poisoning, cannibalism, tuberculosis, scurvy.

Canada has an inferiority complex (and not a very good one). The U.S would have done a half-dozen blockbusters of this with the likes of: Bruce Willis as Franklin, Johnny Depp as Crozier, and Brad Pitt as Fitzjames.
The Franklin Expedition is the stuff of legend.

Top view of a globe showing the North Pole
I’ve always been fascinated by history. Reading about The Franklin Expedition as a child and I wondered, was it possible some men survived and stayed in The North? There were alleged sightings of men from these ships as late as 1858, but who knows how much of that was tall tales. And I can’t resist Northwest Passage (Stan Rogers) combined with Paul Gross (Due South).

My excitement went into eclipse when the pragmatist in me realized how much finding this ship had cost and how much more it was going to cost to excavate the site. History is wonderful, but there are living people who are suffering. Our government alleges we don’t have enough money for: Veterans, affordable housing, social programs, disabled, food/water/transportation inspectors, environment, infrastructure, research, medical issues, Aboriginal issues, and the list goes on. This is like saying you’re going to fly over the Scotland to check out your ancestry when you can’t afford to make your mortgage payments or put a new roof on. Despite what the government is telling us, Canada doesn’t have it’s own house in order and until we do, we shouldn’t be spending taxpayers’ money on historical treasure hunts, no matter how cool they are.

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There are many books on the current trend toward the right-wing, Tea Party-like movement in Canada, but I was stunned by the aptly titled, Irresponsible Government by former Conservative MP, Brent Rathgeber (Dundurn Books), who now sits as an Independent after leaving his party because they had become what they once mocked. Amazing foreword by Andrew Coyne (The NationalPost/CBC).
Rathgeber’s book is a scathing look inside the secretive and controlled world of the CPC. I imagine he’s not a popular guy with some of his former caucus and I’m sure he’s off the PM’s Christmas card list. This book is a declaration, I can almost picture Rathgeber in Twisted Sister (Dee Snider) garb singing, “We’re not gonna take it!”.

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Sick of being a trained seal, Rathgeber stood up and said, No more! and tries  to remind Canadians that we vote in legislators, not a government, but if those legislators just tow the party line th1frank14en we inadvertently voted for one voice instead of many. Politicians should be seeking service not power. Where are the checks and balance1frank18s? Let’s ask the Senate, oh, nevermind.
Fascinating points about the death of fiscal accountability, and sadly, that’s not only under this government, they’ve just made a science out of it.  Where has our access to information gone? Government keeps information from its citizens, and we all know the media, if it bleeds, it leads. But where is our responsibility? We elect people that lie to us, then whine about them, and then elect them again or more just like them. Ironically Rathgeber’s publishing company received financial support, tax credits, etc. from various Federal and Ontario programs to help publish this book.

Canada began a responsible government in 1848, the very year the British Admiralty launched a search for the Franklin expedition. Maybe we need to be reminded. We’ve had our ups and downs as a country, after all, we’re young, maybe we’re just going through our teen rebellion years. Let’s hope we find our way again before it’s too late.
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History should remain a mystery until we have taken care of all those who are alive right here, right now.

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Very me

12 thoughts on “To Find the Hand of Franklin Reaching for the Beaufort Sea

  1. Hey that was fast. I only heard the reports of the Franklin find on the news last night.
    I remember the stories when I was young too. Some speculated that the crew had gone mad with scurvy and turned to cannibalism…nothing ever proven though since no bodies were ever found.
    I don’t know how much was spent on this find or who is footing the bill.
    One thing is certain though, great expenses are always hard to justify when there are mouths to feed and those less fortunate who are in need.
    As for comrade Harper, I’m not too worried about him. He knows his time is almost up.
    Nice post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Harper likes to wave the flag and beat the drums and I think this is another exercise in distracting us with Canadian patriotism from what you rightly describe as the real priorities. Not that this isn’t a really cool exercise in itself 🙂

    Like

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